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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-25-2014, 03:07 PM
530iblue 530iblue is offline
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Mein Auto: 530i 2002
OIL LEAK on 2002 530i

Guys,

I just bought my used 2002 530i car few weeks ago, it still looks good and drives great, unfortunately the original owner didn't mention it has an oil leak(s). I only found about it when I brought to BMW dealership for an oil change service. Per BMW technician, it would be difficult to point exactly where leaks are coming from without detailing the whole engine then check back after 100miles of driving.

I took a picture of the engine part where it has oil residue and drips. Hope you guys can help me base on your experience where to start fixing (eg: valve cover gasket or Oil Housing Filter gasket).

Thanks and Advance Happy thanksgiving to everyone.

-530iblue
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2014, 03:21 PM
Wgosma Wgosma is online now
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Mein Auto: 98 528i 5-spd sport pkg
oil leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by 530iblue View Post
Guys,

I just bought my used 2002 530i car few weeks ago, it still looks good and drives great, unfortunately the original owner didn't mention it has an oil leak(s). I only found about it when I brought to BMW dealership for an oil change service. Per BMW technician, it would be difficult to point exactly where leaks are coming from without detailing the whole engine then check back after 100miles of driving.

I took a picture of the engine part where it has oil residue and drips. Hope you guys can help me base on your experience where to start fixing (eg: valve cover gasket or Oil Housing Filter gasket).

Thanks and Advance Happy thanksgiving to everyone.

-530iblue
Is that pic shot from the underside looking up?.....i.e. is that the car's oil pan we're looking at a portion of? I'm having a bit of trouble getting oriented - it's probably just me getting too damn old

I think my first recommendation is to locate an experienced independant mechanic to work on your German car. You'll find most on this message board are not overly keen on taking their car to a dealership....they tend to be very costly, among other things.
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2014, 03:39 PM
530iblue 530iblue is offline
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Mein Auto: 530i 2002
Hi Wgosma,
Thank you for the response.
That's shot from underside while the car is in the air at the dealership. The top part where you can see the pulleys and belts is the front end of the hood facing the radiator fan.
Thanks,
-530iblue
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2014, 04:06 PM
Wgosma Wgosma is online now
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Mein Auto: 98 528i 5-spd sport pkg
oil leak

....it's near impossible to know from just that one pic; we can't tell if the oil is coming from above where the pan is mated to the block (I think that's what i'm seeing in the pic).

IMO, it's not at all likely it's a valve cover gasket...the oil would probably not reach the lower front of the engine. Possible it's the oil filter housing/gasket, that is located above the area your pic shows - you might poke around from above with a flashlight and see what you find in that area, tho it's a bit tough to see in there.

Aside from that, I'd GUESS the oil pan gasket - but that's a major capital "G" on the guess part.

Let's see what some of the other DIY folks say. I think you want to be hoping it's NOT a pan gasket, never done one but believe on the E39 it entails a bit of work.

Best of Luck / Bill
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2014, 06:40 PM
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eparayno eparayno is offline
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Oil leaks on the passenger side are either from the valve cover gasket, vanos oil return hose or from the camshaft position sensor/solenoid. Your valve cover gasket is probably due for a change. Run you finger along the passenger side of the engine between the valve cover and head and feel/look for oil. The CPS solenoid is in front of the engine, the internal seals fail and allows oil to pass through the solenoid itself and cause a leak. The fix for that is a new solenoid at about $90 and making sure it's OEM.
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2014, 07:09 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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The two most common sources of oil leaks are the VCG and OFHG, in that order. You need to clean up the mess and isolate the location of the leak. If that requires a steam cleaning of the engine, then so be it. Better to know than to guess. Otherwise you could be fixing something that ain't broke. Some other questions come to mind. What is the rate of leakage? Is this a slow leak or a major one? What is current mileage? What is the previous service history?
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2014, 11:29 PM
crazy4trains crazy4trains is offline
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Did the dealer have an opinion on the cause of the leak?
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2014, 07:51 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
1. The #1 culprit is OFH gasket, mine leaked at 100K miles.
Fixed it.

2. The #2 is VCG, mine has a very very minor leak, a few drops here and there on the exhaust manifold, but engine is relatively clean. I am waiting for the leak to be worse and do the Vanos seals at the same time.

1998 528i 5spMT 150K.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2014, 08:17 AM
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wfn wfn is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530i Sport
Like cn90 already mentioned OFH and VCG. Depending on how bad your VCG leak is, you can be sucking in burnt oil smell through the cabin vents if you have a fan going, especially after driving for bit and then coming to a stop. Also check the oil plug, if the washer is damaged or missing, the plug is the wrong type / threads stripped it will leak too.
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  #10  
Old 11-26-2014, 09:09 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I just looked at the photo, this was exactly what I saw in my car at 100K thinking I have an oil pan gasket leak....Oh no, I was not happy b/c the oil pan job is a nightmare.
But then I looked upward and saw the oil trickling down from the OFH area, Whewww!

OFH gasket is an easier job than oil pan gasket.

So I replaced the OFH gasket ($6 at dealer) at 100K. Use BMW gasket only, no aftermarket!!!

I am now at 150K, my oil pan gasket is still factory, zero leak.
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  #11  
Old 11-26-2014, 10:03 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Not necessary to clean it up and come back in 100 miles. As some hinted above, you (or an independent BMW mechanic) can quickly find the leaks. When we got our 530i a year ago, it needed the VCG and OFHG as mentioned above, and also the power steering hoses to the reservoir to finally stop all the leaks.
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  #12  
Old 11-26-2014, 10:38 AM
530iblue 530iblue is offline
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Thumbs up

Thank you guys for all your valuable inputs! I truly appreciate it.



-530iblue
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  #13  
Old 11-27-2014, 05:12 AM
kutcht1 kutcht1 is offline
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Like said above, clean it all up and check after a few miles where it is coming from. VCG leaking can be easily sean from the top if leaking a usually starts at the back passenger corner. OFHG is a little more difficult to diagnose and many times is diagnosed to be the oil pan gasket.
TomK
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